Minc was founded by the City of Malmö in 2002 as one of Scandinavias first startup incubator programs. For 20 years, Minc has acted as a great platform for hundreds of entrepreneurs creating change in the world. Innovations with their roots at Minc has among other been used for facial recognition technology by Apple, uncovering the Panama Papers and to help diagnos mental illnes using AI.
Today, Minc is a complete startup house owned by the City of Malmö. They run the award-winning accelerator Fast Track Malmö and the pre-incubator Startup Labs, as well as their own incubator.
Per, could you please start by telling us a little bit about Minc?
Minc was founded by the municipality around 20 years ago. Before then, Malmö faced challenges with increasing unemployment due to layoffs and a decreasing need for naval industry jobs and other industry jobs. Malmö decided upon a strategy for a city transformation and one of the initiatives was Minc, one of the first incubators in Sweden, where entrepreneurs could gather to develop new ideas for businesses. Minc has since developed into a more mature startup house with various offerings. We are a non-industry specific incubator, but tech, climate and food-tech are dominating themes for our active companies. The latter stems from the food tradition and culture in Malmö.
Right now we have about 60 active companies in our programs which is quite impressive, especially when you compare it to the size of the city, and around 40 nationalities in the house. We are located in the heart of Malmö and on a day-to-day basis we work with organising events, business development, investments and meeting the community, helping people connect with stakeholders. Another important note is that we are owned by the public sector and a non-profit, meaning that we are not taking equity from the start-ups but ‘simply’ facilitators for scaling good start-ups. All services are free of charge except a small fee for renting office spaces at Minc.
Our programs range from Startup labs(validate), Incubator(formation & mvp) and Scale(finding pmf). We do also offer the accelerator Fast Track Malmö for international companies where the focus is on venture capital from Nordic stakeholders.
What does the process involve for start-ups wanting to engage in a program?
Startups apply for incubation at Minc if it aligns with their preferences. More details about this process can be found https://www.minc.se/startup. In the application process we look at for example potential for scaling, financing, opportunity of innovation, market etc. A criteria for all companies (except our accelerator, Fast Track Malmö) is that the company has its legal entity base in Sweden. However, you do not necessarily need to be a part of a program at Minc but can also choose to rent an office space here in our house. This naturally also offers a great insight into the community here and the advantages that comes with it.
Is there anything special that international entities should know about Sweden and Malmö?
I would say that the perks of being a smaller country is that in some ways it is easier to get in contact directly with larger stakeholders and entities for collaboration. We have a good tradition of strong innovation and a quite high number of multinational Swedish large enterprises, e.g. Tetra Pak, Atlas Copco, Axis, Essity, IKEA, H&M to name a few, which are attractive to work with.
Regarding the south of Sweden or Malmö per se, I think one of the biggest advantages is that we are a relatively small town, meaning that all areas are very accessible, even by bike or foot, and when something is happening you will not miss it like for example in a bigger town where it can be hard to navigate where and when to be. You can also live quite well on a decent startup-salary. At the same time, you reach Copenhagen within 30 minutes by train and Swedish incubators also have good records of collaboration with the big start-up hubs in for example the UK and US.
In longer terms, Sweden is attractive from a climate point of view. Lastly, we have exciting times ahead of us as the Fehrman belt is under construction which will open up the market reach to millions of more people in under three hours.
What would you say is unique about Minc?
My colleagues and I all have solid experience from having started companies ourselves or have worked in the field of entrepreneurship for quite some time. We are very proud to have a very thorough sustainability and equality policy that is progressive and strongly incorporated in our daily work. This is quite unique since those aspects are normally not the main focus from the beginning in the start-up process.
For example, we have a strategic goal by 2024 to have 50% of the companies with at least one female founder or co-founder. 50/50% investment policy whereas 50% of our investments should go to female owned companies and today 40% of our investors in our investment fund Fast Track Capital are women. I would also say that we have zero elitism in our organisation and lastly, I want to highlight the community that we have here.
Having a good community is one of the most important things for creating good business, enjoying the process and develop in the long term.